Facts About Birth Mothers and Adopted Children

As domestic adoption continues to grow, more research has become available to highlight what affects adoption has on birth mothers and the children they place for adoption. According to several national studies, adoption can have a positive effect on both birth mothers and adoptees.

For Birth Mothers:

Significantly, unwed mothers who choose adoption do better than mothers who choose to be single parents:

  • They have higher educational aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance than mothers who keep their children.
  • They delay marriage longer are more likely to marry eventually, and are less likely to divorce.
  • They are more likely to be employed 12 months after the birth and less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
  • They are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.

Source: McLaughlin SD, Manninen DL, Winges LD, Do Adolescents Who Relinquish Their Children Fare Better or Worse Than Those Who Raise Them? Family Planning Perspectives, 20:1 (Jan. – Feb., 1988), pp. 25-32

For Adopted Children:

Adopted children do as well – or better – than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization that specializes in questions of concern to states and cities. The 1994 study – the largest examination of adopted adolescents yet undertaken – found that:

  • Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely than children born into intact families to live with two parents in a middle-class family.
  • Adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism.
  • Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families.
  • On health measures, adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores and both those groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents.
  • Seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade.
  • Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically. The data also found that adopted children enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all other groups and have superior access to health care.

Who Adopts

The families who choose to adopt want to build a family. The reasons for this need are many and different. Most couples have struggled for years with the pain of infertility. Other couples act out of love to help a birth mother who cannot keep her baby. Regardless of their individual circumstances, these couples are committed to family and children and want to fill a void because they do not have a child.

All families must complete a thorough family assessment which includes:

  • FBI and State Police checks for criminal backgrounds and for any history of child abuse or neglect
  • A review of the family’s financial stability
  • An assessment of lifestyle, values, and parenting abilities
  • Letters of recommendation from family, friends, co-workers, employees and pastors.

You are encouraged to select the adopting family for your child. We will show you a profile (pictures and information) created by a family for you. You will have as many profiles to review as necessary.

Profiles include information about a couple’s home, family members, pets, fertility, financial status, child care plans, and much more. They may also include a letter written to the birth parents about their family and why they want to adopt a child.

Profiles should not be used as the chief source for selecting the adopting parents. Be sure to read their “Dear Birth Mother” letter and talk to them on the phone to see what they are really like and if they meet your expectations.

Birth Mother FAQ

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Q: Should I consider adoption?
A: Adoption is a strictly personal decision that you should make based on your own circumstances. In making the decision, you should consult with family, friends and professionals that you trust, but only you can make the final decision.

Q: What should I consider when making my decision?
A: Several things are important to take into consideration. First, consider all the things going on in your life such as social and personal relationships, your financial situation, any health issues and the timing of your decision. Second, will keeping the baby complicate your life, your other children’s lives (if applicable) or, in the long term, the baby’s life? Third, are you ready to be a parent at this point of your life? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what would be best for you and your baby? If there would be any way to hold your world together and keep your baby, then you should definitely keep your baby. However, if placing your baby for adoption is the best option for you and your baby, then Adoption Legal Services can help you find a loving, caring family to adopt your child.

Q: What if I’m not sure that I want to place my baby for adoption?
A: You should investigate the adoption process. Be open and honest about your feelings when discussing adoption with friends or family. Keep in mind, however, that as you learn more about adoption and the adoption process, the support services, the adopting parents and the long-term welfare of your baby the right decision will become more apparent. Whether you decide to keep your baby or place your baby with a family, the ultimate decision will be easier to make when you are informed.

Q: What if I’m still not sure?
A: I would recommend that you tell your adoption service that you are not ready at this time and you should withdraw from the process until you are comfortable with your decision. Remember, once you commit to a couple, it is devastating to them and to you if you change your mind.

Q: Can I ask the adoptive parents for money to pay for things I need?
A: In many states the adoptive parents are legally allowed to pay for only the birthmother’s medical expenses and legal fees. In other states they may also pay the birthmother’s housing and pregnancy-related expenses, such as maternity clothes. None of the states allow the adoptive parents to pay for the birthmother’s college tuition, vocational training, or a vacation, or to give the birthmother any type of financial reward or anything of value that would appear to be payment for the baby the birthmother is allowing them to adopt. A detailed accounting of all expenditures that the adoptive parents have had in connection with the adoption must be presented to the court that oversees the adoption.